[Photos] : ACK’s 2013 Austin Demo Days

We had an absolute blast at this past weekend’s Austin Demo Days at the Hyde Park Quarry and hope you did too. If you missed out, don’t fret! Not only can you check out the photo recap in this blog but you still have the chance to participate in Demo Days this coming weekend in San Marcos, Houston and Spring. For now, enjoy the photos and let us know your favorite kayak, canoe or SUP you were able to try out or what you have been dying to paddle!

Press Release: Austin Canoe and Kayak Announces 2013 Kayak Demo Days

Austin, Texas (March 11, 2013) – Outdoor retailer, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), a division of MSP Holdings, LLC announces the 2013 Spring Kayak Demo Days & Outdoor Expo in Austin, San Marcos, Houston and Spring, Texas.

The annual event is designed to give paddlers the opportunity to demo a combination of over 90 kayaks, canoes and stand up paddleboards. Representatives from all the major paddlesport manufacturers will be in attendance to help answer questions and offer guidance when shopping for a kayak, canoe or stand up paddleboard. The ACK Demo Days cater to both the beginner looking to buy their first kayak as well as more seasoned paddlers interested in an upgrade.

Roland Jimenez, ACK Director of Marketing, explains the importance of a on-the-water demo, “The intent is to give paddlers a chance to do more than just look at a boat but also get a first-hand experience on the water because after all, that’s where they’ll be using it,” Jimenez said. Roland added, “I can assure attendees that after a few hours at this event, they’ll be hooked and shouldn’t be surprised to find themselves driving home with a new kayak, canoe or stand up paddleboard.”

This year, the Houston demo days will be split up into two days at two different locations to better serve the region. Saturday’s event will be hosted at Independence Park in Missouri City, Texas and Sunday’s event will be at the Elizabeth Kaiser Meyer Park Pond in Spring, Texas.

In addition to being able to demo kayaks, canoes and stand up paddleboards, the even hosts a variety of educational outdoor clinics including kayak fishing, kayak camping, basics of paddling amongst several other topics.

Demo dates and locations:

Austin Demo Days:
Date: April 6 & 7 (Saturday & Sunday)
Location: Hyde Park Quarries
Sat 10am-4pm & Sun 12pm-4pm (rain or shine)

San Marcos Area Demo Days:
Date: April 13 & 14 (Saturday & Sunday)
Location: Texas Ski Ranch
Sat 10am-4pm & Sun 12pm-4pm (rain or shine)

Houston Area Demo Days:
**There will be two locations this year to better serve Houston area residents!**
Date: April 13 (Saturday)
Location: Independence Park
Time: 10am-4pm (rain or shine)

Date: April 14 (Sunday)
Location: Elizabeth Kaiser Meyer Park Pond
Time: 10am-4pm (rain or shine)

These events are free and open to the general public. Additional information and maps to each location can be found at www.ack.com/demo.

About MSP Holdings, LLC

MSP Holdings, LLC operates Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer and Rack Boys a vehicle rack and sports travel outfitter dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Both retail outfits are based out of the central Texas area, with their respective online stores at www.AustinKayak.com and www.RackBoys.com and within four physical locations in Austin, San Marcos, Spring and Houston, Texas.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with MSP Holdings, LLC, please email pr@austinkayak.com.


ACKTV Update: NRS Pike Overview

Luke Adams from NRS paid us a visit at our Austin Demo Days back in April and showed off the features of a unique, inflatable fishing kayak called the NRS Pike. Luke covers all the features of the boat including its impressive stability for sight fishing, its portability, and plenty of other built-in features. Be sure to check back for more videos in our upcoming series of instructional and product overviews! – Trent @ACK

2011 Spring Demo Days Recap

A scene from the Austin Demo Days

Ahh, ACK kayak demo days, they can be a logistical nightmare but at the end of the day every ounce of energy that is poured into the planning and execution of the event is well worth it from every perspective and we hope that for those of you that attended, you would agree!

Now, we do realize that a large percentage of our website visitors are out of state. If you are a fan of our Facebook page or follow Twitter you probably got sick and tired of hearing about our demo days and getting teased with a variety of pictures and videos but we just can’t help it. It’s probably the most exciting, educational and fulfilling event we organize so we must tell the world! The good news is that this is probably the last time you’ll hear about our demo days at least for a few months.

The Expedition School conducting a beginner paddle lesson.

But before we put a final note on all this, we have to extend a big thank you to all the vendors, representatives, volunteers, speakers and ACK employees for helping make this one of our most successful events ever. More importantly, we must thank all of the attendees for joining us this year. We experienced record attendance and because of your feedback from previous years, we were able to make some changes to provide a more convenient and pleasant experience for everyone.

Some of these changes included a more streamlined pricing structure and presentation, more staff on hand and additional off-the-water educational clinics. One clinic in particular that seemed to have garnered a lot of interest was our beginners paddling class before each demo day. We noticed that many people were intimated by the idea of trying out a bunch of kayaks because they didn’t know how to paddle so we thought these would help break the ice, so to speak. I could go on and on about all of our clinics, boats that were on the water and so on but instead, I’ll close this blog with a link to a short demo day clip we put together here.

Thanks again and we hope to see you next time!


Events, Events, Events!!!

As the person responsible for promoting ACK, I should be keenly aware of each and every event that we are hosting, attending or sponsoring — or, at least you would think so. A few weeks ago I suddenly came to the realization that we had so many events scheduled that I couldn’t even keep track of what was when, why and with whom so it was time to take control and put it all in order.

In-Store Events
I’ll start by talking about our in-store events. If you have visited one of our stores recently, follow us on Twitter or are a friend of ACK on Facebook, you’ve probably seen us pushing a variety of seminars in each of the stores. These seminars are hands-on and covers topics such as how to properly secure a kayak to your vehicle or the basics of kayak fishing. The seminars  are Free of charge and typically occur on Saturday or Sunday morning just before each one of our ACK Stores open. To view a complete schedule of these events click on the following links:

Sponsored and Other Events
If you access the above links, you’ll find us at a variety of paddling and outdoor related events this spring including:

  • Kayak Anglers Tournament Series (KATS) – Various Dates (Austin, Texas)
  • National Wild Turkey Federation Annual Banquet – March 3rd (San Antonio, Texas)
  • San Marcos River Clean Up – March 5th (San Marcos, Texas)
  • 39th Annual Buffalo Bayou Regatta – March 12th (Houston, Texas)
  • Battle of the Bayou – March 12th (Ocean Springs, Mississippi)
  • American Canoe Association State Meeting – March 19th-20th (Austin, Texas)
  • Galveston Bay Foundation Trash Bash 2011 – March 26th (Houston, Texas)

Boat and Fishing Shows
Yep, not quite done with boat shows just yet. We just attended the GRTU Troutfest in New Braunfels, TX and we are off to attend the Houston Fishing Show next weekend. We also have plans to exhibit at a boat expo being hosted just west of Austin, Texas called the Lake Travis Springfest in April.

Demo Days
The ever popular, unmatched and never duplicated ACK Austin, San Marcos and Houston Demo Days are now scheduled! If you’ve never attended an ACK Demo Day, this is your opportunity to demo almost every boat we carry and attend a variety of clinics. We’ll be publishing more information about the clinics soon but in the meantime, mark you calendars for the demo day nearest you!

That’s a lot to keep track of so I invite you to click on our store news and event pages above and bookmark the one closest to you. We’ll continue to update them on a regular basis.

Oh and how can I forget to mention ACK Paddler, our in-store newsletter we’ve recently launched? We decided to publish this newsletter as a way to communicate our events and to provide useful content including maps, articles, how-to’s and special offers to our store visitors. Drop by one of our stores to pick up your copy or visit our store links above to download a PDF version.

If you live in this region, surely we’ll see you at one of these events but in the meantime get out and paddle — if it’s warm enough!


So THAT is how they do it.

Prior to joining the ACK team, I operated a small kayak shop and always wondered what exactly it was that made ACK such a success. Fact is, I’ve been employed by ACK for less than two weeks but it only took about 30 minutes to figure it out…. It’s the people.

Now, I do realize it also took years of hard work, dedication, a commitment to customer service and of course, our customers, but before I could even find my office, Aaron (Warehouse Supervisor) was dripping with sweat while the noises coming from the warehouse seemed to only get louder by the minute. Kate and Kyle were already taking orders and assisting customers on the phone, Clayton was eager to chat about our ongoing social media efforts, Justin (Austin Store Manager) had but a brief second to say hello, Amy, well, let’s just say she had her hands in EVERTHING and of course owners Chris, Steve and Peter were, what I could only describe as, bouncing a dozen basketballs at each other, playing trombones and tapping dancing all at the same time (now that would be an interesting scene).

This doesn’t even include the many store managers and employees preparing to open their doors for the day along with the unseen warehouse staff that was organizing inventory and shipping orders that came in over the weekend.

I arrived at 8:15am on Monday morning — this all happened before 9am.

While I’ve only been here a week, I have already attended two Demo Days (Austin and Houston) and a Hobie Kayak on-the-water employee training seminar, began developing a tactical marketing plan for the promotion of the 2010 ACK Fishing Challenge and started tackling a variety of other marketing related tasks that were all due — yesterday.

It’s hard to use words to describe my first week here, it’s just one of those things you would have to experience yourself. The staff is unlike any I have ever worked with before — extremely energetic, committed, dynamic and eager to get it done but all with a steady focus on the one thing that matters most, our customers. It’s contagious.

Roland Jimenez

Doug Pike Radio Show Interview

Houston store associate Jerron Wosel was interviewed on the Doug Pike Radio Show in Houston – Sports Talk AM 790 about this weekend’s Demo Days (9/25 – 9/26) being held in both Houston and San Marcos Texas.    To listen to Jerron’s segment on the show click here.

To hear the full Doug Pike Radio Show click here.


Sidelined for Demo Days :-(

DEMO Days are back in Austin! An event that is worth getting excited about has built anticipation throughout a long summer. The cool Friday rain dampened the ground and cooled the air for a great weekend at the Quarries Lake, where over 80 boats line the soggy bank ready to hit the water and tell their story.  In sharing my favorite aspect of this weekend, I must confess that I am sitting on the sidelines due to a recent hip surgery that has left me crutching around (a mode of transport unsuitable to navigating the rocky, boat laden shore line of the Quarries Lake).

What I enjoy the most will be relayed through second-hand accounts, passed on to me by those who witnessed first-hand the unfolding of each match between kayaker and kayak.  I will certainly miss having my hand in the process, but it will suffice to hear how each kayak was chosen.  For some, it’s in the details and takes very meticulous reasoning to find the perfect yak for their particular use. For others, it’s simply a matter of color, or whether or not their 80 lb lab will fit in the stern tankwell.  And some do not care much about anything except that the kayak will take a beating and get them on the water!

That’s what I enjoy. The process of thinning out the choices and finding the right kayak for the right person–something that happens more often at ACK DEMO Days than any place else. That is also what I will miss as a sideline spectator to the Fall 2010 DEMO Days. Can’t wait ’til spring!

Robert Cotten
ACK Austin Store